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General Eyewear are the United Kingdom’s premier eyewear archivists, acting as advisor and supplier to all manner of film, fashion and performance projects. The Archive itself consists of over 52,000 frames, circa 1790 – 1995, and has been growing since 1997 under the directorship of collector Fraser Laing. What was once a small stall in Camden Market in the late 90’s has turned in to a cavernous archway from which the General Eyewear team archive, research, make and sell eyewear to the public and creative industries.
General Eyewear offer ready to wear as well as bespoke frames for optical or sunglasses, handmade from Italian acetate.
Every General Eyewear frame is hand made using traditional techniques, however this does not necessarily hinder progressive design. Working in Acetate means increased flexibility in adjustment as well as allowing for experiments, and experimentation is where The General Eyewear design philosophy takes inspiration. Making frames one by one means room for change, and that is how General Eyewear arrive at the definitive shapes that they produce. It also shows the ways in which their archive informs their production, both in RTW and Bespoke.
Shapes are worked up by In house designer Akio Usui, and cut on site. These shapes are then sent with appropriate components to traditional frame makers, of whom there are a small number in the UK. The acetate shapes are ground, filed, built up and cut back to form the desired shaping. Hinges and arms are pinned in place by hand and the final shaping, sanding and polishing finishes the frame. Lenses are glazed in London to the customer’s requirements.
General Eyewear offer archival eyewear as well as RTW and bespoke frames.
Repairs and restoration of historic eyewear is also undertaken, as well as reglazing of any other frame, whether purchased at general eyewear or not.
Home visits for fittings and bespoke consultations can be arranged.
General Eyewear offer the ability to commission bespoke frames. Clients can order from a range of ready to wear models designed in London and hand made in England.
These frames can be customized in terms of acetate style, thickness and finish. General Eyewear can source from any contemporary acetate manufacturer or clients can choose from a vast archive of discontinued Italian acetate samples mostly dating from the 1970s and 1980s.
Clients can take influence from an archive of vintage frames as well as the ready to wear collection or any other source material. A consultation is had during which the requirements are assessed and from this a design can be drawn up. Once approved, the frame is made up and glazed if necessary. Frames can be shipped worldwide.